I wonder if Jennifer remembers when we used to find quotes. We did, or at least I did. I would spend hours pouring over words, attempting to find the right quote for my mood, for my emotions, and for my situation.
Words are something I have fallen back on for years. They have helped to break the fall, year after year.
There is great joy in finding those quotes that express exactly how you’re feeling at that moment. It is a feeling that helps take away the hurt of loneliness and even, perhaps, the hurt of hurting. Finding your thoughts and emotions written down by someone else in some other place, at some other time is an amazing feeling of unity. It is with finding those words that you begin to realize that you are not the first person in the world to get hurt, or to be happy, or to feel something so intense. It is a calming feeling. While I have been writing in a poetic sense and also journaling for ten years, sometimes, the right words still elude me and when this happens, it is, inevitably, quotes that I turn to in order to help me express exactly how I feel. It is strange to me though, that, as a writer, I must look to the writing of others to express myself.
Quotes and the words of others have also helped me sort it all out. Sometimes I cannot put my own emotions into words and it helps to have someone else do it. I could write for hours, pouring every sensible thought out onto paper, or onto a word document, and still not grasp the real, honest emotion, feeling, or hurt. I can run circles around the issue, weaving closer to the core of it with each letter, each comma, each word, but still not really get there. It is then, with some bit of excitement, that I have learned to put down the pen, stop my own damn typing, and look for my emotion in the words of others.
Really, it’s like a hunt. I believe now that there is someone else, somewhere, at some point in time, who has felt like this, who has been in a similar, if not exact, situation. All I have to do is find them. Really, I don’t even need to find them. I just have to find the words that they wrote, or spoke while they were attempting to sum it all up into a snazzy sentence.
And then, there is the finding. The holy shit, hit the nail on the head, fabulous realization that no, you’re not totally alone in this world, lost and wandering and losing your mind all by yourself, and that yes, there are others out there who have felt absolute heartbreak, and absolute happiness, and somehow, they managed to survive the tumultuous tumbles of life, and so maybe, just maybe, you can survive it too. It is the breath stealing feeling, of “wow,” that is how I feel, those are the words I was looking for, and I couldn’t have said it better myself.
So, I’m leaving you with this poem, because it is that oh wow, this is it, this is what I need to do, this is what I need to feel, this is the realization that I have been looking for.
Love After Love
by Derek Walcott
The time will come
When, with elation,
You will greet yourself arriving
At your door, in your mirror,
And each will smile at the other’s welcome
And say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was yourself.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
To itself, to the stranger who has loved you
All your life, whom you ignored
For another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
The photographs, the desperate notes,
Peel your image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.